A 17-year-old Tibetan girl who was beaten by Chinese authorities recently received a three-year prison term for distributing fliers critical of China’s rule over Tibet, suggesting that local officials are trying to stamp out dissent following numerous self-immolations.
News of the Jigme Dolma’s sentencing was received earlier this week, India-based monk Tehor Jigme told Radio Free Asia. However, she was actually jailed in late August.
Jigme was arrested for organizing protests in the Sichuan Province town of Kardze.
“Details concerning where she will serve her sentence are still unknown,” Jigme told the broadcaster and added, “nevertheless, her three-year sentence has been confirmed.”
In June, Dolma threw leaflets in the air on top of a bridge above an intersection in Kardze and shouted pro-Tibet slogans.
“When she reached the main part of town, police overwhelmed her and took her away, beating her at the same time,” a Tibetan woman living in Kardze told RFA. She was also reportedly beaten and was sent to a hospital, with her arm in a sling.
Her parents were only allowed to visit with her once when she was being held in Kardze, but she was transferred to an undisclosed region far away from Tibetan areas in China, the monk said. “She was accused of committing actions aimed at ‘splitting China,’” he said.
In recent months, Chinese officials have been keen on cracking down on Tibetan protesters and have arrested people who have spread information about Tibetans who have set themselves on fire to demonstrate against the Chinese regime. Recently, a Sichuan Province-based Tibetan monk was sentenced for spreading information about the self-immolations.
Since February 2009, more than 50 Tibetans, mostly monks and nuns, have set themselves on fire to protest Chinese communist rule. The self-immolations, which are mainly centered around the Kirti monastery in Sichuan Province, are not condoned by Tibet’s prime minister in exile, Lobsang Sangay.
The International Campaign for Tibet, a rights group, sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton last week, requesting that she address the Chinese regime’s “security crackdowns and re-education campaigns” directed at Tibetans.
Such programs, the group added, “are, in fact, accelerating the deterioration of the Tibetan culture, steepening the decline in religious freedom, and contributing to a tragedy increasingly seen by the international community.”
In recent days, the Tibetan Autonomous Region capital of Lhasa has been heavily locked down and guarded by Chinese security forces. One resident described the situation there as “a large prison” and police are everywhere, armed with “rifles, batons, and fire extinguishers.”
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